Recommended Linux distros

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For Ports of the Linux kernel on consoles, see Homebrew and hack Roms#Operating_systems.
For Running Linux on PlayStation 2 (using the PS2 Linux kit), see PlayStation 2 emulators#Linux for PlayStation 2.
For Running Linux on PlayStation 3 (using OtherOS), see PlayStation 3 emulators#OtherOS.

Linux Distributions (Distros) have existed since the early history of Linux, with distros like MCC Interim Linux and boot-able floppy disks like H.J. Lu's Boot/Root. Many distributions are based on one of four distros; Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Arch Linux.

If some distros aren't working on your hardware, see Linux Hardware.org. Computers page for specific devices, or with specific parts, see the search page.

This is a list of the current recommended Linux distros in their respective categories.

General use-focused[edit]

These Linux distributions offer a complete Desktop experience with a large user base.

Name Latest Version Architecture Based on Desktop Environment Active Recommended
Ubuntu
and its flavors
24.04 LTS (Desktop)
Other flavors
x86, ARM Debian GNOME, Others (depending on flavor)
Linux Mint 21.3 x86 Ubuntu Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce
Manjaro 24.x.x x86, ARM Arch Linux KDE Plasma, Xfce, GNOME ~
Raspberry Pi OS 2024-03-15 ARM, x86 Debian PIXEL ~
Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS x86
ARM (preview)
Ubuntu GNOME (COSMIC) ~

Experienced users[edit]

Name Latest Version Architecture Based on Desktop Environment Active Recommended
Arch Linux Latest x86
ARM and others unofficially
Independent Any
Debian 12.5 x86, ARM
and many others
Independent GNOME (and others)
Fedora
Fedora Atomic
40
Fedora Workstation
Fedora Atomic
x86, ARM
and many others
Independent GNOME (and others)

Gaming-focused[edit]

These Linux distributions target to be a complete gaming package. Emulators might not pre-installed on these systems but are easily installed.

You can use EmuDeck which is an installation script that helps you get started with emulation.
Name Latest Version Architecture Based on Desktop Environment Active Recommended
Bazzite 2.3.0 x86 Fedora Atomic KDE Plasma, GNOME
ChimeraOS 45 x86 Arch Linux GNOME
SteamOS 3
HoloISO
SteamOS N/A
HoloISO
x86 Arch Linux KDE Plasma ~
Nobara Project 39 x86 Fedora Linux KDE Plasma ~
winesapOS 4.0.0 x86 Arch Linux KDE Plasma TBD
Garuda Linux
(KDE Dragonized Gaming edition)
“Spizaetus” (231029) x86 Arch Linux KDE Plasma TBD
Drauger OS 7.6 x86 Ubuntu KDE Plasma TBD
Regata OS 23 "Honeycomb" x86 openSUSE KDE Plasma TBD

Comparison: https://github.com/ChimeraOS/chimeraos/wiki/OS-Comparison

Emulation-focused[edit]

These Linux distributions offer complete emulation packages for PCs, single board computers, consoles and other systems.

Name Latest Version Architecture Frontend Active Recommended
Batocera.linux 38 ARM, x86 EmulationStation fork
Lakka 5.0 ARM, x86 RetroArch
Recalbox 9.1-Pulstar ARM, x86 EmulationStation
RetroPie 4.8 ARM EmulationStation fork
Elemenity OS 1.1 ARM64 Custom (supports RetroArch)
Retro Home 22.189-alpha1 ARM, x86 Ludo TBD

Android[edit]

AOSP
What does “AOSP Android” really mean?
Name Latest Version Architecture Frontend Active Recommended
LineageOS 15.1 (Switch)
Raspberry Pi 3 builds
Raspberry Pi 4 builds
Raspberry Pi 5 builds
ARM Trebuchet ~
See the Hardware features and Enhancements of sections of Android emulators for Android-x86 and it's forks.
Android on x86
Name Latest Version Architecture Frontend Active Recommended
BlissOS 16.9.x x86 Android-x86 fork
includes 3 launchers: Taskbar, Quickstep and Smart Dock.
*
Berry OS 2023-02-22 x86 Based on Android-x86 and Bliss OS
Mini Desktop launcher is pre-installed.
Android-x86 2022-03-25 x86 Trebuchet (KitKat version) ~* ~

Multiplatform-focused[edit]

These Linux distributions provide system development environment experiences on a wide range of platforms, including different hardware architectures.

Name Latest Version Architecture Active Recommended
T2 SDE 24.5 Alpha
Arc
ARM (incl. ARM64)
Avr32
HPPA (incl. HPPA64)
IA64
M68k
MIPS (incl. MIPS64)
Nios2
PowerPC (incl. PowerPC-64 and le)
RISCV (incl. RISCV64)
s390x
SPARC (incl. SPARC64)
SuperH
x86 (incl. x86-64)

and theoretically any GCC/Linux supported one.

External links[edit]